Wendell Tripp

1928 - 2023

COOPERSTOWN – Wendell Tripp passed away September 20, 2023. 

He was born June 1, 1928, in Walden, the son of Eva Welsch Tripp and Wendell E. Tripp, Sr.  He graduated from Walden High School in June 1946 and joined the U.S. Navy the day after graduation.  He served in the Navy for three years, much of that time aboard the light cruisers USS Wilkes Barre and USS Huntington. 

Following his discharge from the Navy, he attended Drew University, majoring in English Literature, and received the BA degree in 1953.  He then received the MA degree in American History from the University of Michigan and the Ph.D. from the Faculty of Political Science at Columbia University.  

He taught world history at Port Jervis and Middletown high schools from 1955 to 1958  and taught American History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges from 1958 to 1964.  In 1964 he became director of publications and editor of the quarterly journal New York History at the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown. Between 1964 and 2001 he edited 148 issues of the journal. He also produced The Otsego Herald, published annually for many years at The Farmers Museum print shop. He wrote The Church at the Farmers’ Museum and edited several publications related to the museums.

He was also the author or editor of several books:  Through Poverty’s Vail, published by Syracuse University Press; World of the Founders: New York Communities in the Federal Period, published by New York’s commission on the bicentennial of the U.S. constitution; A Bibliography of Newspapers in Fourteen New York Counties, co-edited with Sylvia Faibisoff,  published by the South Central Research Library Council; Coming and Becoming: Pluralism in New York State History, published by the NYSHA.  He also contributed, without portfolio, to a variety of publications, including The Empire State: A History of New York, published by Cornell University Press.  

His Ph.D. dissertation, a study of Revolutionary War veteran Robert Troup, was published by Arno Press.  Troup, a close friend of both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, was an active Federalist and a prominent attorney, but his major historic role was as chief administrator for Sir William Pulteney, an English peer who purchased millions of acres of land in western New York.  Troup’s lobbying in the New York legislature enabled Pulteney and other Englishmen to own land in New York.  He then established offices in several western New York communities and administered the sale of the Pulteney land to individual settlers.

In addition to being editor of New York History and Director of Publications for thirty-seven years, Tripp was also Director of Library Services for ten years and was Adjunct Professor in SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program for thirty-five years and Adjunct Lecturer in that Program for fifteen years.  He was also on the board of the South Central Library Council and represented NYSHA on the planning committee of the annual Conference on New York History.

His interest in history and in drama led him to write a play, “The Tragedy of Stephen Arnold,” which was presented at the Fenimore House theater, and to write two plays directed to elementary school audiences that were published in The Grade Teacher.

He was also active in local government, serving for several years on various zoning boards and serving for six years on the Cooperstown Board of  Trustees and for six years as mayor of Cooperstown.

Wendell was predeceased by his parents, by his brother Albert Tripp, sisters Marion Welsch and Mary Louise Meier, and by his wife Maria K. Tripp. 

He is survived by daughters Dana Peeters (Martin) and Nancy Morris (Daniel); son Robert Tripp (Angela); by stepsons Robert Zamelis (Cristan) and Douglas Zamelis (Cheryl).  He is also survived by grandchildren Stefanie Brindle (Kyllan), MariaRosa Konopka (Robert V.), Andrew Konopka, Olivia Morris, Leland Morris, John Tripp, Samantha Tripp, Madelyn Zamelis, Ariadne Wright (Alex), and Nicholas Zamelis (Laura); great-grandchildren Carmella, Tolba and Aoife Brindle, Giuliana Konopka, and Vivianne Konopka.

A Memorial Service to the Glory of God and in Thanksgiving for the Life of Wendell E. Tripp, Jr. will be offered at 12 Noon on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at The First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, with the Rev. Jessica Lambert officiating. Following the service there will be a time for refreshment and fellowship in The Chapel.

His remains have been laid to rest with his beloved wife, Maria, in The Columbarium in the Church-yard of the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.